The Greater Story: Act of Valor

I am a sucker for war movies, especially movies that highlight the honor in sacrifice and the heroism of those who fight for our country.

Act of Valor was one of those movies. Granted, it is essentially one long commercial for the Navy but I thought it was pretty good. (It was especially cool that the main characters were active Seals, and not actors. Thing is, you could totally tell they weren’t actors…)

But here is what I am getting at. 

As Christians, we belong to a better story.  We have been saved into a story that no Hollywood movie could top (even Passion of the Christ).  This story has more intrigue, sacrifice, honor, surprises, and glory than whatever we watch on the big screen. I know this, I affirm it.

But as my mom and I were walking out of the theater (I love that she doesn’t drag me to chick-flicks but will totally see movies like A.O.V), I couldn’t help but wonder how our story topped it. With the emotional ending and epic battle scenes, I could not readily see that my affections were stirred more towards Jesus than the Seal Team. I found myself thinking that I would rather be absorbed in that story rather than the gospel.

I realized that I wanted to be the Hero. I wanted to be in the story where I was the Seal that secured safety for my team and the American People. I wanted to save the day.  I wanted to be the honorable self-sacrificing soldier.

However, that is never my place in the story. In reality, I am infected with a disease more devastating and destructive than AIDS or MRSA: sin and corruption. I have been corrupted since conception and ever since have been a dirty rotten little sinner who shakes his fist as the heavens challenging God to battle. Worse than immoral actions, I have offended (really pissed off) this holy God. The battle is within me and I am my own worst enemy.

Therefore Jesus came to the world in human flesh, incarnating into the fallen humanity to seek and save the fist shakers (the lost and religiously self-righteous). Living His whole life here on earth then allowing for Himself to be murdered at the hands of sinful man, Jesus then rose from the dead ultimately conquering over sin, Satan, death, and Hell.

Not only that but God is redeeming everything back to Himself. All creation will again, in the new heavens and new earth, sing praises to the Trinity.

And I have been united with this Christ. He is how I have been brought into this story. All the benefits Christ secured for Himself is automatically given to me: justification, sanctification, election, preservation, sonship, the affection of the Father, ability to participate in the life of the Trinity, ect.

And then He grabbed ahold of my affections and brought me near to Himself, replacing my anemic desires with soul filling God glorying desires. So I no longer hate this God but seek for Him to be my supreme delight, delightfully! 

Anyways, I am not the hero of the story. You’re not the hero of the story, you never will be. Jesus is the hero.  He is the victor. He has secured victory for those who are united with Him.  He has given purpose to suffering, even suffering in throwing ourselves on the grenade to show who the Hero truly is.

What is even better about all this? My participation, co-laboration, in this story is not predicated upon ANY faithfulness within myself. Zero. Jesus is the source. HIS faithfulness guarantees me a spot.  HIS perseverance, HIS act, HIS glory, HIS valor secures me, keeps me, draws me, moves me, changes me, into being more like Him and less like me.

Jesus did not simply DO and act of valor. Jesus IS the act of valor, He embodies it.

What are other ways in which you see the story of God being greater than any other Hollywood movie?

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Posted in The Greater Story

Sexual Abuse

I recently read an article by a professor at Moody Bible Institute, Dr. Schmutzer.  He wrote it in 2008 to be a voice for the “shrieking silent.”

It is specifically aimed at the non-abused. He states that his goal is to educate Christian ministers by bringing sexual abuse out of its hidden dark corners into the light.  So often this issue of sexual abuse goes unnoticed in the church.  So much so that Schmutzer says they are leaving the church, “When the church does not plan for this dissonance, it could be ignoring a terrifying reality for up to 20% of its congregation–if they are still there.”

I have not been abused. God was very gracious to me to give me a mother and father who protected me from such horrendous evils. So this topic is not one that I fully understand but one that provokes me like few others.

My meager ignorant writing does not do this article or topic justice so I will simply say this: if you are a Christian you honestly must read this article.  It is roughly 23 pages long but it is well worth carving out a lot of time to slowly work through.

Dr. Schmutzer’s A Theology of Sexual Abuse: A reflection on Creation and Devastation.

Here is also an intense spoken word about the story of a woman’s sexual abuse.  More than worth your time.

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Posted in Horror

The Poem Heard ‘Round the World

This makes me not want to be “famous.”

If you have not been paying attention to facebook, twitter, and blog posts, there has been a video going viral (7.7 million hits) about how Jesus is greater than religion.

Seattle resident Jeff Bethke made a sequel to his Sexual Healing video (which really was an excellent piece) and titled it Jesus >Religion.

I encourage you to watch it.

As the watch count grew rapidly, so did the critics.  People of all theological shapes and sizes, from Christian Orthodox clergy to lay Roman Catholic parishioners to Gospel Coalition pastors, have jumped on this video to comment on its theological assertions.  Some critics are legitimately out to shepherd their flock and guard the church.  I get that, it is the pastor’s job and dutiful delight.   They are charged to do so because they love their people.  Some of the “critics” (I put critics in quotations to try and differentiate between those who wrote to edify not to be associated with haters) in this camp were encouraging and helpful and genuinely wanted the best for Bethke. I thank God for them.

Others, however, Read more ›

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Posted in Uncategorized

Review: Jesus Plus Nothing Equals Everything by Tullian Tchividjian

If you can read this book and it does not lead you to repentance, then you have not actually read it. 

Tullian from the outset is transparently honest.  He begins his book by drawing the reader into his own story when in 2009 he recalls, “Never had I experienced anything so tough.”  Throughout the book he gradually unpacks more and more of the difficulty during that year.  It was during this time of immense difficulty that Tullian found solace and soul relief in the pages of Colossians. God spoke through Paul’s words and reminded Tullian of his new identity he has in Christ. In effect, he rediscovered the gospel.  And that is, boiled down, the whole point of his book: a call to rediscover the gospel. Read more ›

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Posted in Uncategorized

A Meaty Christmas?

Incarnation.
In=in.  Carne=meat/flesh. Read more ›

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Posted in Holiday, Uncategorized

Hadi’s Death and the Death of Death

It was a Thursday.

This Thursday started no differently. I went to school, I was a Junior in High School then, and did the usual: homework, wasted some time, ate dinner.  But this was a day I was looking forward to.  Why?  Because I got my new cell phone that day.  My old one was super jankety so naturally I was excited for its replacement.

I was invited that night to go carve pumpkins with some friends. I think I had a project or something due so I passed on the offer to this late night pumpkin carving session (I might have been just really excited to sit and figure out my new phone.)  I was glad that I had stayed behind because it was a gross Chicago night.  It had been raining all day and the bitter cold forced Chicagoans to begin yearning once again for summer.  Anyways, I had just switched out my SIM card to officially claim this phone as my own.  Less than 10 minutes of activating the phone, I got a call.

“Chris?”
“Yeah?”  I responded.  There was long silence.
“….”  No response.
My stomach sank.  “Whats up? Bro, why did you call?”
“Hadi got into an accident.  She was hit by a garbage truck.  She is in critical condition.  They’re rushing her to the hospital now.” Read more ›

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Posted in My Story

The Candy Shop

This is a stirring 30 minute allegory on sex trafficking/pornography.  This is well worth your time.

 

It is a pretty good film, huh?

What lines stood out to you?  Write them down. Read more ›

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Posted in Uncategorized
I am fighting to believe.
My fight is the fight to believe. I also fight to rest and have joy in my God.
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